Managing stress with cooking may be unknown to most of us. You already know that cooking your meal instead of eating out at restaurants saves your money and caters better to your calorie needs, but I bet you haven’t heard of cooking therapy. Have you?
Cooking therapy is generally described as a way to feed your soul and nourish your mind at the same time. You can also refer to cooking therapy as kitchen/culinary therapy.
The finest thing about kitchen therapy is that it does not only ease your anxiety and depression, but it also helps you to save more— which is quite rare and remarkable.
Think about it: how many of your beneficial hobbies allow you to save more? Furthermore, nearly everyone can engage in cooking therapy. Combating anxiety suddenly looks so appealing.
What Is Cooking Therapy?
Cooking therapy is defined as a treatment technique that involves arts, gastronomy, cooking, culture, and your relationship with food to improve your psychological and emotional health. Preparing your meals can be an excellent therapeutic activity.
As a testament, cooking, and baking are now prescribed by top therapists to deal with various health conditions. Examples of these are addiction, depression, eating disorders, chronic stress, and ADHD.
Cooking can help to lessen the symptoms of anxiety and improve your mood in several ways. When you cook a delicious meal, you and whoever eats the meal feels satisfied, thereby giving you a sense of accomplishment. Also, this will enhance your socialization level, self-esteem, and general living quality.
Concept Of Managing Stress With Cooking
In other words, how can cooking help you manage stress better? Why do experts suggest that cooking plays a significant role in your mental health? Well, there are various reasons for the keen adaptation of cooking therapy these days.
Credible studies have established the reasons why cooking can impact your mental and psychological health. They include:
- Heightened concentration: cooking requires a high level of concentration, except you want to see your pot and kitchen go up in smoke. By concentrating on an activity you enjoy doing and which will bring you fulfillment, you can slow down your spiraling thoughts and get a way out of your head.
- A form of mindfulness: cooking can help you become more mindful. Remember, you have to be aware of your surroundings and engage your sense of smell and sight when cooking.
- A pathway into a “flow state”: a flow state grants you freedom and creativity that’s previously unavailable. Since cooking is a challenging and enjoyable activity, it can get you in a flow state pretty easily.
- An escape route: cooking offers you an escape out of the monotony of your everyday routine since there’s always something new to cook. This can help to put your anxiety away.
- An expected accomplishment: the knowledge that you could be accomplished after cooking offers you great solace and takes all negative thoughts away. Cooking eases your anxiety and depression and helps you fight the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Additionally, by taking the time to appreciate what you’ve cooked, you can become grateful for the food available to you. Gratitude is a trigger of positive emotions.
Cooking is an artistic expression, which may explain why some therapists refer to cooking therapy as a “culinary art.” Your creative juices flow when you cook. Experts attribute this to the fact that, just like baking, cooking is an outlet for you to express yourself and produce something substantial and tangible. Throw in the fact that you can share your meals after cooking, and you appreciate this beautiful art even more.
Other Benefits Of Managing Stress With Cooking
We understand that anxiety can be demotivating, and you may still need an extra nudge to try out cooking therapy. Thankfully, cooking has a wide range of other benefits, apart from its psychological and emotional effects. Let’s look at these benefits.
Cooking is an active activity. Unlike other sedentary choices like watching TV and reading, cooking keeps you about on your feet. You have to fetch and mix ingredients, chop when necessary and wash and clean up when done. Sure, cooking isn’t an intense gym session, but it is undoubtedly a great way to have fun, express yourself, and remain active at the same time.
Cooking engages mental and physical skills and has, therefore, been proven to reduce dependence, risk of disability, and malnourishment in seniors.
Cooking As A Family
Cooking may ordinarily look like hassling because you have to plan, mix and fetch, and clean up. This may be true, depending on your mindset, but this is never so when done with the family.
Studies have shown that cooking with your partner helps you to connect and bond more. By allowing you to enjoy time with those you love, cooking helps you to care for yourself.
If you have eaten out in restaurants and also cooked at home, I’m sure you’d have realized that the latter is a great way to eat healthy foods on a budget as well as save money. Local, seasonal produce is usually cheaper and even tastier since it is fresher. When you’re unwilling to spend, you can go through the ingredients you have and come up with a unique recipe for using them.
Excellent Recipes For Managing Stress With Cooking
To optimize the benefits of culinary therapy, it is advisable to cook meals that are physically and mentally healthy. Settling for nutrient-dense foods is a great way to improve your cognitive or mental health. Below, we’ll look at options that should be on your diet if you’re eating to tackle mental issues.
- Vegetables— particularly leafy greens, for example, kale and spinach.
- Other fresh vegetables, including cruciferous veggies, such as green beans, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, Brussel sprouts.
- Fresh fruits— particularly all types of berries, which include strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, and cherries.
- Nuts and seeds, for example, flaxseeds, walnuts, and chia seeds.
- Whole grains, including oatmeal, brown rice 100% whole wheat, bread, quinoa, barley, and farro.
- Fish, especially wild-caught, for example, salmon, mackerel, halibut, and tuna.
- Olive oil, which should be your main cooking oil.
Final Thoughts on Managing Stress With Cooking
Managing stress with cooking is creative and effective. Kitchen therapy not only helps to manage anxiety better, but it also affords you more cash and time with family. You can keep active through it as well. What’s better art than that which you eat, share and express yourself through?